Answering Mormon Objections


CaptainPrudeman and Stephen168,

LDS and Eastern Orthodox accept the “Fall of Adam” or “Ancestral Sin” or even “Original Sin.” What is unique and not present before Augustine is that not only did death and/or the propensity to sin transmit from Adam’s act, but culpability or guilt that MUST be removed by Baptism. Scholars credit and/or blame Augustine for this innovation AND it is recognized that he was using a poor Biblical translation specifically to develop this idea.

I have read perhaps a dozen or more different articles and books that reference what I consider to be Augustine’s mistake and its impact upon Christian doctrine. What we have after Augustine is not what was believed before.

Here are two scholars.

The first is an Eastern Orthodox scholar who explains that while he often defends Augustine against the regular criticism he sees from other Eastern Orthodox scholars, when it comes to Original Sin, he shares their horror.

David Bentley Hart:

Cont ,



Now an Assemblies of God Seminary Professor who explains the difference I am highlight that Augustine introduced into Western Christianity.

James J. DeFrancisco:

Since I just came across this too here is a Baptist scholar:

I could produce more if you wish, but this is commonly accepted. There are those who soften it, there are even those who claim Catholicism is CHANGING in this area (which IMO it absolutely is). But, before Augustine the way original sin was conceived and affected all mankind was DIFFERENT than afterwards. The Eastern Church never adopted his error.

Original Sin as understood by Augustine and Catholicism is not Biblical and it is not early. It is encoded in the Council of Trent. It is also in the non-ecumenical, but influential, Council of Orange and Council of Carthage.

ECF not exposed to Augustine’s innovation would not and did not believe in what became DOGMA at Trent. They were not Catholic.

Charity, TOm



No where does this Irenaeus quote state that mankind inherited the sin of Adam and Eve. Not only that, elsewhere Irenaeus states that God felt compassion toward Adam for what transpired.

Therefore at the beginning of Adam’s transgression as the scripture tells, God did not curse Adam himself but the earth that he worked. As one of the ancients says, ‘God transferred the curse to the earth so that it would not continue in man’… For God hated the one who seduced man while he felt pity for the one seduced. (Against Heresies, Book III, ch. 23:3 )



Another fabulous quote from Clement of Alexandria…

It is for them to tell us how the newly born child could commit fornication or in what way the child who has never done anything at all has fallen under Adams curse. The only thing left for them to say and still be consistent, I suppose, is that birth is evil not just for the body but for the soul for which the body exist. Clement of Alexandria, Stromateis 3.16, trans. J. Ferguson (Washington, D.C., Catholic University of America Press, 1991), FC 85:319



Hello Tom,
The significant part of the definition of Priestcraft as found in the BOM is above and I highlighted it in my original response. If an organization preaches that their leaders are somehow special that is Priestcraft regardless of how nice these leaders are.



Unique Mormon beliefs never taught by Christians:

-barring blacks from the priesthood
-Melchizedek Priesthood
-excommunicating Apostles
-God was a man
-blood atonement
-water baptism on behalf of the dead
-God was near the star Kolob (as recorded in Mormon scripture translated by Joseph Smith from papyrus which turned out to be an Egyptian funeral text.)

The ECF were Catholic, never Mormon.



Actually it does, but Mormonism is a 19th century American religion, which has trouble understanding the writings of the early church. Mormon apologists also have a habit of using ellipses to patch sentences together to get the meaning they want, and taking sentences out of context in regard to the original authors purpose and meaning.

You should change the reference of this quote to include paragraph 5 where the sentence after the ellipses is located. Taken in context, The Incarnation (God became man) was for the salvation of all the human race (mankind), even Adam.

That is a fabulous quote, but it doesn’t negate the quote by Irenæus. In the same work Clement also quoted bible verses which suggest a belief in the fall of man by Adam.

The Early Church Fathers are Catholic and they were never Mormon. Claiming the belief in original sin was introduced by Augustine does not refute that fact, because…………Augustine was an early church father!

You and Tom are basically appealing to the dictum of St. Vincent.



Vincent was answering the question; how do we know the proper interpretation of Holy Scripture? His “rule of thumb” was to be used to “distinguish the truth of Catholic faith and the falsehood of heretical pravity.”

John Henry Newman said anti-catholics like to believe there was once a pure Christianity which then became corrupt. Then they have to draw a line between what is pure and what is corrupt; and then give a date for the corruption. These anti-catholics use the “dictum of Vincent of Lerins” for that purpose. While this dictum “provides a bulwark against Rome,….it opens an assault upon Protestantism.”

As John Newman discovered while investigating the development of Christian doctrine for his essay, the Vincentian Canon supports Catholic belief. Unique Catholic beliefs are there, while unique Protestant beliefs are not.

As John Newman said, the way anti-Catholics use it, the way Mormons use it, brings an assault upon Mormonism. Where do we find the dictum of Vincent in regard to barring blacks from the priesthood, god was once a man, polygamy, Melchizedek Priesthood, excommunicating Apostles, blood atonement, or water baptism on behalf of the dead. These unique Mormon doctrines were believed by the early church: nowhere, never, and not by anyone. By using the Vincentian Canon you have opened “an assault upon” Mormonism that practices inventions not restorations.

Mormonism teaches man will become Gods, while Christianity teaches God become man.



So, I admit that I don’t know much about Catholicism. But from what I understand, you folks tend to stand by a thing known as the “Catechism of the Catholic Church”, right?

460 The Word became flesh to make us “partakers of the divine nature”: “For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God.” "For the Son of God became man so that we might become God."80 “The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods.”

I mean, you’re the Catholic, you tell me. Does Catholicism teach that Christ assumed our nature so He might make men gods, or doesn’t it? I mean, if somewhere along the way, Catholics decided there was something wrong with this section of the Catechism, and you should abandon it, I can understand I guess. Is there a better place to go to the current Catechism than this link to the Vatican?



That’s already been discussed. It means that God came to make us partakers in the Divine nature, to open the way for us to be with Him in heaven.

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How much of the Divine Nature do Catholics believe man can partake of in the next life? Will such a partaker be able to raise the dead and create a world, for example?



Nope. We don’t become gods independent of God. We partake in the Divine nature being unified with His will and having eternal life, but we aren’t gods by nature.



The first part has already been explained on this thread and the previous 15 times Mormons have brought it up in CAF.

Christianity believes in the trinity; one God and three persons. One of the persons, the son, became man.

Christianity has never taught that God was a man, and therefore man can become God as Mormonism teaches.

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OK. I would then say the significant part is “set themselves up.” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes that its leaders are called by God and do not “set themselves up.” This calling is further removed from the individual “discernment” process that other churches use in that those already called of God ask God who should be called. No LDS leader after Joseph Smith COULD be accused of “setting themselves up,” because they were chosen by God through others already chosen by God.

Concerning Joseph Smith, I already offered my thoughts on this:

Joseph Smith had a large group of followers who believed he was a prophet of God. He rejoiced when the 3 witnesses and the 8 witnesses were called to share in his burden. He also taught regularly after this that revelation was to be received by EVERY member of the church not just by leaders. His actions are not the actions of someone who seeks gain and adulation. Over and over again he spread the responsibility for the restoration to others and deemphasized his uniqueness.

There are important aspects of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that were only experienced by Joseph Smith or a small group of individuals (such as the 3 witnesses or the 8 witnesses or a handful of other groups who attest to miraculous foundational events). With the exception of Joseph Smith, all these groups were called by God through other people and they all stand as witnesses to the divine origins of Joseph’s original call.

The events experienced by Joseph Smith and these foundational groups are directly analogous to events like the appearance of Christ in the upper room, the encounter of God with Moses, and other Biblical occurrences that necessarily happened to single individuals or small groups. The CoJCoLDS is set apart from the other communities that recognize events like these by the teaching that the WITNESS is to be had by ALL and by the fact that continued leadership is chosen by God through current leadership.

If you desire to avoid Priestcraft, where can you worship other than by yourself with your Bible or Koran or … that has less than the CoJCoLDS?

Charity, TOm



[quote="Stephen168, post:65, topic:518299, full:true"]

This was the quote I was hoping to respond to, but had lost from our previous conversations!!! Thanks.

The Greek "πιο κοντά" as used here means closer, near, more intimate with God. It is associated with the relationship we possess when God raises us to immortality. Alternatively, it could be associated with the location we inhabit relative to God, but that is unlikely. It does not mean “less than” because we only approximate becoming what God is. Irenaeus believes that being eternal (God) and being created (us) is a difference and it has consequences. But Irenaeus’s point is that God overcomes these consequences to make us gods AND when we are immortal we are close (like a father and a son, like friends, like spouses) to Him. Irenaeus in the next section continues to explain that he is talking about the “created” aspect of man vs. the eternal aspect of God and how God overcomes this. We should not condemn God because he made us first as man and later gods.

I disagree with Irenaeus concerning the ex nihilo nature of creation, but he like those before the 4th century does not limit the final state of deified mankind. He unlike modern Catholics (for example @ lilypadrees ) boldly declares that mankind will become gods.

There are things not in the ECF that as a LDS I believe, but the restoration of “public revelation” as the tool God uses to lead His Church anticipated and predicted this. What was unknown by Joseph Smith and early LDS was how much of our beliefs that are criticized as uniquely LDS or unbiblical would be found in the writings of the ECF.

After Tertullian embraced “the new revelation” the authority that became the Catholic (and Eastern Orthodox) Churches claimed that “public revelation” ended. The ONLY thing the authority did/would do was preserve the faith. This is why CHANGE in the Catholic tradition (like what I documented above in Augustine that everybody seems to have skipped over) is so problematic.

I can respond in more detail if it is important to you (and not just a shotgun blast), but the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not claim to be infallible and irreformable. We do claim to receive “public revelation” from God to directly guide us. We are a restoration of the ancient Church, but we didn’t expect to find ALL of our beliefs in the ECF. Catholicism is on a very different footing and the ECF are not Catholics.
Charity, TOm



How convenient that you ignored the analysis of how “make us gods” doesn’t really mean gods in the CoJCoLDS sense.



Exactly. The Mormon belief relies on the rejection of God as the uncreated creator (creation ex nihilo) and man as his creation; as held by the ECF.



While Mormons claim their unique beliefs were held by the early church fathers, they can never prove it because they are not there. I’m sure the claims will be repeated as it has before without proof.

Hegesippus warned us about Joseph Smith.

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Nor were the ECF Mormons.



I started by recommending a Catholic book Deification and Grace by Keating. He would not agree with the Catholic Answers documents because there is simply too much to the belief in deification to reject the "make us gods" label as is done so frequently.

I stand by the statement:

** Before the fourth century there is not a single ECF who limited the final state of deified man. There are many ECF who boldly say that mankind will be made gods. There are many ECF who claim that Christ became what we are so that we might become what He is. But, when they make the BOLD claims unlike the fourth century and later writers they do not claim that the final state of men who become gods is limited.**

You will need to spell out the analysis that I ignore better. I suspect I either disagree with what you claim MUST be part of the LDS "make us gods" truth AND/OR I disagree with what is claimed the ECF taught.

The only thing I can think you are referring to is here in this post of yours:

The “mistranslation” argument ignores the bulk of the statements and context and … in the ECF so that Tim Staples may quibbling over the use of a capital “G” or a lower case “G.” I am sure I have responded to this before (and thought I had here, but alas no). Tim Staples is wrong about what the ECF taught. In addition to this, when I say that “mankind can be made gods” I always use the lower case “g” and I always save the upper case “G” for God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit and/or God the Trinity. As Ostler has carefully explained (and backed up by the teachings of Joseph Smith), God is always above those who are made gods. Those who are made gods are in communion with God. So I am unaware of anything I have missed.

What Tim Staples and you miss and what most Catholics who reflexively reject the idea that mankind can become gods is that the early ECF do not support the limited deification embraced by the modern Catholic Church. Daniel Keating is better, but even his assessment relies upon a belief that many ECF are somehow so interested in “turning a phrase” that the miscommunicate their true feelings. I think the exchange formula is real and the words mean what they mean. If Christ became what we are then we are to become what He is. Modern Catholics seem to be unable to acknowledge this without substantial qualifications. I can elaborate upon Keating’s words if it is important to you. It is quite remarkable what he does. That being said, his presentation is MUCH better than Tim Staple’s.

Charity, TOm


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